Hospitalfield Interdisciplinary Residency
August 2019, Arbroath, Scotland
During the residency at Hospitalfield, I’ll be working on a new concept for storytelling installations, in which the contents of the stories themselves change dynamically. My past storytelling installations have employed recorded audio clips that either played on a loop or were triggered using motion detectors. But human beings are often unreliable narrators; the stories that we tell can shift over time, as our memories fade and our motivations and biases rewrite our recollections of history. This is especially true in our contemporary politics, in an era of “fake news” and “alternative facts” where basic perceptions of factual reality can become objects of contestation. I am interested in exploring these ideas, and their political implications, through storytelling installations in which the stories deform or shift over time. During my time at Hospitalfield, I will tackle various conceptual challenges associated with installations of this kind, as well as drafting sample variations of story scripts. In what ways can stories lose their original meanings, and gain new ones, through gradual corruptions of a text? Through what kind of “score” or “flowmap” could story variations be represented, kept track of, and ultimately translated into a computer program? In an installation where visitors have finite time and attention, what story lengths and what kinds of story variations would be most effective? And through what technologies could the changes in stories potentially be made interactive, for instance motion detectors tracking visitors’ movements, facial recognition software parsing visitors’ emotions, or even some mechanism through which visitors could register their own preferences through voting?